What are qualia, the feeling on the skin of heat from a fire, or the fire itself? Or something else?

I'm asking because I'm trying to work out if it makes sense to say that causing a phenomena is qualitative, rather than the phenomena itself. As I am a confused Buddhist person.


"In philosophy and certain models of psychology, qualia (/ˈkwɑːliə/ or /ˈkweɪliə/; singular form: quale) are defined to be individual instances of subjective, conscious experience." Working with this definition, both 'the feeling of heat' and all perceivable manifestations of the fire would be qualia. It gets tricky when we think about how the object "fire" is not itself qualia but an interpretation of experience, a belief in the representation of fire as an objective entity. Buddhism might say that there is no fire per say but that our categories and illusory belief in the separateness of objects from each other creates 'fire' as we experience it -- fire is the manifestation of the whole universe, and in truth, cannot be separated from any other aspect of reality without becoming fundamentally unreal or illusory.


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